Winter typically means more time spent indoors, and it’s common to lose sight of health and wellness goals as the chilly season drags on. Finding the motivation to stay healthy can be easier when you have measurable data you can use to assess your progress (or the lack of it).
We all want to see the backend of 2020. Get healthy in 2021 — shed the COVID-TEN, beef-up your fitness, and shred the COVID-bad-luck by monitoring your progress with these 7 tech tools.
As the trend toward smaller, wearable tech continues to gain momentum, developers are finding some interesting ways to combine biodata with helpful interfaces. With so many new devices and apps being released it can be a challenge to sift the winners from the so-so. Here are seven tech-enabled fitness devices that deserve your attention.
1. Wim Hof Method Mobile App
It seems as though Dutch extreme athlete Wim “The Iceman” Hof is everywhere these days. For many years, however, the Wim Hof Method of breathing exercises was regarded as something of a curiosity or physiological outlier.
Hof’s approach is fairly simple and rests on three pillars: breathing, cold therapy, and commitment. The Wim Hof Method Mobile App provides a great portal into Hof’s methods, helps you stay healthy and stick-it to winter gloom.
As an added bonus during these pandemic times, there is evidence to suggest that practicing the Wim Hof Method provides a boost to your immune system. Not only that, Hof’s method can increase your ability to control certain autonomic functions. The exercises are simple but require staying engaged and committed.
When you’re feeling tense or anxious, it can be difficult just to sit down for a few minutes and relax, let alone meditate. And who isn’t feeling at least a little bit of tension these days? Find relief with Sensate, which helps you modulate your body’s stress response and boosts your overall well-being.
A stone-like device that rests on the user’s chest, Sensate is paired with an app that offers relaxation sessions of varying lengths. The device uses infrasonic bone conduction technology in conjunction with sound to calm the nervous system by stimulating the vagus nerve. By stimulating and then calming the nerve, Sensate brings together ancient meditation practices and modern technology. The combination is surprisingly effective and easy to use; you’ll feel the calming-influence-benefits as soon as you power it up.
The HeartMath Inner Balance trainer has been around for years but has been refined and improved over time. HeartMath has done a great job at promoting a broader understanding of heart rate variability (HRV) as a metric for measuring both stress and emotional resilience. The HeartMath Institute Research Facility in California was established to further support expanding research on the subject.
The HeartMath product itself is a wearable earclip device that connects to a companion app. It uses an integrated biofeedback loop to help individuals improve their HRV score through practice. Studies show that watching your HRV can improve focus and sleep and reduce fatigue and anxiety.
4. Oura Ring
Oura Ring is another device that relies on HRV as a measure of user well-being. Oura has somehow managed to combine biometric monitoring with an attractive, always-on ring. The device is both workable and wearable, making it much loved by the biohacking community.
The Oura Ring tracks three different scores — readiness, sleep, and activity — to help you develop healthier habits and perform at your best. Measures of sleep quality and duration help you create your optimal bedtime. Movement goals and tracking enable you to strike a healthy balance of physical activity and rest. Waking up to a “readiness score” lets you know how prepared your body is to take on the day.
5. Vagus Watch
Designed in Finland, the Vagus Watch is an innovative product developed for ECG health monitoring. Used before, during, and after breathing training, the device uses cross-chest ECG neurofeedback to provide accurate readings for HRV and vagal tone.
Regular monitoring allows you to improve your training sessions, supports a greater sense of well-being, and builds up your immunity. Just the thing for staying healthy during these cold winter months! (The watch looks nice, too, even though it doesn’t tell time.)
6. Breethe: Meditation and Sleep
The number of breathing devices and apps flooding the market is a response to a heightened awareness that proper breathing is critical for good physical and mental health. One favorite is the Breethe app, which offers users dozens of meditation sessions, bedtime stories, and even hypnotherapy sessions.
Developed by yoga instructor Lynne Goldberg as she was learning to cope with the loss of multiple family members, Breethe is designed to introduce the practice and benefits of meditation to anyone and everyone. The free version of Breethe provides more content than most similar apps and offers shorter sessions for those who have three minutes or less to chill out.
7. Kokoon NightBuds
This product is brought to you by the clever people at Kokoon, who have developed earbuds with built-in sensors to monitor sleep quality and enable personalized sleep coaching. Their noise-canceling capabilities will ensure nothing disturbs your slumber.
Kokoon NightBuds are smaller than normal earbuds and boast intelligent audio to “transform your sleep and relaxation naturally through audio.” Currently, there is an opportunity to order Kokoon NightBuds at a substantial discount through Kickstarter.
Kick Out the Dull — and Bound into Your New-Health-Mode
It’s no wonder so many new health-monitoring apps and services are hitting the market right now. 2020 did a number on all of us, to varying degrees. If you’re starting 2021 feeling like several of your health goals need revisiting in the wake of the pandemic, you’re not alone. This is a great time to think about adding measurable data to your overall health and fitness regimen, and any one of these new products might be just what the doctor ordered.
Image Credit: mikhail nilov; pexels; thank you!